During the Munich conference over the security on February 23, 2021 Biden defined the framework of his worldwide security policy and our concern in this review is China and Iran.
We know for a fact that the economic centre of the world shifted from the G7 and has become the E7 (East 7) because it represents nowadays 60% of the worldwide economic output and China within this area has the largest chunk and has built ramification down to the Indian sea and the Red Sea (Djibouti) hence the G7 parties are aligned with the USA to focus on this matter closely. It is worthwhile noting that China’s project for reaching Europe goes through 2 main vectors which are: A- Through the Red Sea (From the Indian Sea) passing the Suez canal onward and of course B- Through the BRI (Bridges & Roads Initiative) project that passes by the Middle-East (Iraq, Jordan, Syria and Turkey and incidentally Lebanon as a collateral gain). The point B leads us to Iran’s matter.
There is a principle commitment by Biden to rejoin the JCPOA accord signed by the P5+1 however, four points differ from Obama’s approach. But before enumerating these points a fact stating historical background should be taken into consideration. Obama badly needed to reach an agreement to show a good result on the international scene, while talks were on their way the situation of Syria’s chemicals came on in addition to other mishaps in Iraq and Yemen to which Obama’s administration dropped a blind eye. This “Laisser Faire” gave latitude to Iran (And Russia by the way) to extend its power through Soleimani’s plan enabling it to reach the Mediterranean Sea. This matter did not please the KSA and Israel that felt they were crippled, if not abandoned, by their strategic partner. On the other hand, the menace that Iran was preparing was in fact not only the Nuclear but the ballistic missiles program which proliferation matters more to the Gulf countries and Israel. It is important to note that during the Trump administration the U.S. reaction to the bombardment of Aramco was also disappointing which led the GCC countries to review their relation with the U.S. no matter the president. At this point Biden understood the “game” by introducing other players in the region. A point to bring to light is the late call to Netanyahu, it might be to show that Israel should not and will not be permitted to intervene in the pace of the process but the U.S. understands the concerns of Israel. The below four points, hence are now understandable if requested by the Biden’s administration:
Nonetheless, a short review of the internal U.S. situation is necessary. What are the challenges facing the Biden administration in returning to the Iran nuclear deal? Why the present administration is still playing “a game of chicken” with Tehran? Biden and Blinken are especially wary of alienating Republicans on Capitol Hill, whose votes are needed for more urgent priorities, including Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package and his ambitious plans for infrastructure investment and curtailing climate change,”. Extending an olive branch to Iran by less overt means is also being considered from IMF loans to other quick cash infusions. Maybe this is why he is putting forward the 4 other countries to move forward till his time comes. Not to forget the appointing of Robert Malley as special envoy who favours diplomacy and has an extensive experience in this dossier.
What are Iran’s responses? Escalation…
The Iranian internal situation: We have to take into consideration that Iran’s presidential elections are in June. The moderates are losing ground to the conservators that are pushing Iran to “go east” as the west cannot be trusted. Any show of weakness would put the moderates in a bad situation hence the Iranian choice of escalation can be understood in this logic. Many move designed to increase pressure on the United States to lift sanctions before coming to the negotiating table.
It is clear that negotiations are the ultimate goal and each of the players is moving his chess pawns (Europeans, Americans, Russians, Chinese, and Iranians) and Lebanon is one of these pawns. The situation is very tricky and should the talks take time to materialize it makes the situation trigger easy. From very reliable sources the information from the call between Biden and Macron show a possibility for the French to move forward in their efforts in Lebanon with an ease of the U.S. interference but this doesn’t mean that they will not keep an eye on the situation as Lebanon (Hzb) is one of the pawns. The expected visit of the U.S. chief of Staff of the army Mc Kenzie could be one of the messages.